After a promising win to open Ivy play, the women's basketball team (4-14, 1-3 Ivy) has once again slipped into a losing pattern, dropping a pair of games at home over the weekend to Yale and Brown.
Friday night's 76-51 loss to the Bulldogs (9-9, 3-1 Ivy) was a game of two halves. Senior guard Taylor Ward did not play, and it was evident early on that the Light Blue missed her presence on the floor.
“We had 20 turnovers in the first half because the person who usually handles the ball and gets us into offense wasn't on the floor,” head coach Stephanie Glance said. “So everybody moved one position over, and it affected us mentally.”
Without Ward, who averages a conference-leading 36.3 minutes per game, the team seemed out of sync on both ends of the court. The Bulldogs pulled away in the first half with a 16-4 run, during which Columbia's only points came from first-year forward Tori Oliver. Yale continued its attack, putting up 10 unanswered points to end the half up 35-10.
Glance voiced her disappointment with the team's first-half performance, noting the Lions' similarly slow first half against Cornell last weekend.
“Today was an adjustment. I believe today was different than the Cornell game,” Glance said after the loss to Yale. “You can't take a player out of the lineup who plays for 37 minutes on any team and expect everything to go smoothly.”
However, she added, “I did expect less turnovers than we had in the first half. Twenty turnovers is ridiculous.”
The second half was much smoother for Columbia. Oliver scored five straight points early in the half, finishing with 14 to lead the Light Blue. The first-year's contributions sparked Columbia's offense, which went on to match the Bulldogs 41-41 in the half.
“It took us an entire half to adjust. The good news is, we did adjust,” Glance said, noting that Columbia had fewer turnovers, shot a robust 42 percent from the field, and contained the Bulldogs' two leading scorers to single-digit point totals.
The adjustments did not carry over into Saturday night's matchup against Brown (7-11, 1-3 Ivy), as the Lions lost 79-57.
History seemed to repeat itself in the first period, with the Bears scoring eight unanswered points to open the game.
But Ward made her return to the floor known when she drained a three that would kick off an 8-0 run for the Light Blue.
For her part, Oliver had a career-high 21-point performance, but it was not quite enough to put the Lions ahead of the Bears, who shot 49 percent from the floor in the first half to enter the break up 31-22.
The Lions came within five points early in the second half, but a 16-5 run for Brown put the game out of reach.
Columbia's struggles in both losses cannot be attributed to a single source, according to Glance.
“I think it is a skill set, it is talent, it is an ability to perform on a stage,” Glance said.
“We're still growing as a team,” she added. “There's a long history here of not being able to do that. We're still changing that. We're changing the culture still.”
The Lions will host Princeton and Penn next weekend.
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